• Advocates are calling on the WA Govt to reject a bill which would require only one family member be consulted before a child is taken away. (AAP)Source: AAP
New inquest after spate of deaths in remote areas.
By
NITV Staff Writer

Source:
NITV News
26 Jun 2017 - 12:19 PM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2017 - 12:24 PM

The West Australian coroner has begun an inquest into the death of 13 Indigenous people in the Kimberley.

The inquest is scheduled to run for over three months and travel to multiple locations. It comes after the death of a 10-year-old girl in a remote community last year.

An inquiry into Indigenous suicide in the region was held ten years prior.

Suicide prevention researcher Gerry Georgatos who works with families affected by suicide in the Kimberley said until underlying poverty was addressed by governments nothing would change.

Poverty is the underlying issue – unless we address the poverty, it’s only going to get worse," he told NITV News.

"Nearly 100 per cent of suicides among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are among those living below the poverty line."

"Homeless rates in Kimberly are among the highest in Australia. Around 10 per cent of the population is homeless."

Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer called for an inquiry after the 10-year-old's death and said last year the Parliament needed to "define exactly what has been tried, what hasn’t worked and what has," and allocate funds and resources accordingly.

"Each time I hear of such tragedy occurring I ask myself, 'how can this still be happening?'," Ms Farrer said.

Ms Farrer said many children were growing up "confused angry and frustrated, bored".

Remote communities don't have after-school activities, youth services or formal youth centres, weekend sporting activities and swimming pools, she said. 

"We must invest in our youth.

"We must show them the alternatives to suicide because right now many youth see suicide as not a possible option. It’s their only option."

Ms Farrer said there were not enough drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres in the Kimberley, with just one in the vast region - the Milliya Rumurra Alcohol Treatment Centre in Broome.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.bettertoknow.org.au/AMS